Independents for Climate Action Now (Independents CAN) Policy Platform
Independents CAN’s climate policy;
Uses science to define what needs to be done
Is based on economics framing how best to do it
Recognises the urgency of the climate emergency
Includes both mitigative and adaptive policies that acknowledge the new climate reality.
Click on a policy link below to read
1) Transition to 100% Plus Renewable Energy
Australia is the sunniest and windiest developed nation in the world which translates into it having enormous renewable energy resources. Electricity generation currently produces approximately a third of Australia’s carbon emissions. Renewable energy generation not only provides the path to removing this source of emissions but also the means to decarbonise other sectors of the Australia economy including transportation.
Renewable energy generation is now the most cost competitive form of power generation. Increasing Australia’s renewable energy generation capacity to greater than 100% of our domestic needs will decrease power costs and provide opportunities for renewable energy exports and a cost competitive manufacturing and heavy industry sector.
Policies span market mechanisms, incentives for the stimulation of investment, government subsidisation of public uptake and issues of equitability.
Venture capitalists are currently building a renewable Hydrogen plant with a view to export this Hydrogen to countries like Japan and Korea. There is also a massive solar farm being built in the NT with a view to export this renewable energy to Singapore. Our export income is guaranteed well into the future as more countries will want to purchase our renewably sourced power.
2) Managed cessation of Fossil Fuel Industry
Climate science informs us that the fossil fuel industry is fundamentally incompatible with pursuing global commitments to a safe climate future. Fossil fuel exports including coal, gas and oil currently contribute a significant proportion of Australia’s export revenue and the industry supports tens of thousands of workers and dependent communities.
Global trends in market divestment from fossil fuels highlights the risk of existing and any future investment in the industry becoming stranded assets. Timely and managed withdraw of Australia from the fossil fuel industry to reduce this primary source of global emissions in a way that avoids stranded asset risks and minimises impacts to the economy, dependent workers and communities is a perquisite to a climate action committed Australia.
Independents CAN policies include mechanisms to discourage new fossil fuel industry development, the establishment of replacement export industries and transitional arrangements for dependent workers and communities.
3) Adaptation to the new Climate Reality
Recent natural disasters in Australia and internationally demonstrate that impacts associated with climate change are not just a concern for the future but are occurring now!
Climate science provides the understanding that regardless of efforts implemented now to mitigate emissions, impacts will be ‘locked in’ to the future due to lag times in the climate system’s response. These impacts include extreme weather events, floods, droughts, cyclones, storms, extended and higher risk fire seasons, coastal erosion and sea level rise.
To adapt Australia to an increasing frequency and/or severity of these impacts a mix of policy commitments are required covering everything from planning standards, protection of high value coastal assets, public shelters and infrastructure, development and coordination of emergency response services, and enhanced water, food and energy security. While some of these issues fall within the jurisdiction of state and local governments, policies and funding at a Federal level are needed to facilitate and co-ordinate outcomes nationally.
4) Drawdown and sequestration of atmospheric carbon
Science provides the understanding that to avoid dangerous climate change the drawdown of current atmospheric carbon is required in addition to the cessation of carbon emissions. The natural drawdown and storage process for atmospheric carbon is via sequestration into soil, vegetation, wetland and marine ecosystems.
Carbon sequestration can be promoted within Australia and globally via reforestation and the regeneration and management of natural ecosystems and via changes to primary production systems.
Policies to protect and promote carbon sequestration include promotion of revegetation and regenerative agriculture, the management of natural or modified ecosystems to enhance their carbon sequestration capacity including ‘blue carbon’ storage within wetlands and marine environments and protective measures for existing natural systems. Policies also address suitable legislative frameworks and economic incentives to promote and value sequestration processes and to engage natural resource managers.
5) Research and Develop Technological Interventions
Globally a range of technical interventions are being considered as possible means to reduce atmospheric carbon and the associated heating of the planet. Carbon capture technologies are one example that have only been developed on a small scale but are included as a necessary part of modelling scenarios for a safe climate future considering current emission levels. Other forms such as Solar Radiation Management (SRM) are more controversial but may need to be employed in an emergency context if accelerated rates of global heating are experience due to an international failure to reduce emission levels.
Independents CAN policies in this area seek to increase Australia’s capacity to research and develop carbon drawdown technology at a scale that can contribute to a reduction in atmospheric carbon stocks. They also provide for establishing prudent research programs to examine other technological interventions such as SRM that could be called upon as a last resort in the unfolding climate emergency.
6) Creating a zero emissions society
In addition to electricity generation there are numerous other sources of carbon emissions produced by Australia including transportation, fugitive sources, industrial processes, stationary energy, construction and agriculture. This broad policy area covers initiatives by which the carbon footprint of these sectors can be reduced on the path toward a net zero emissions economy.
Policies address issues associated with building codes and settlement planning, public transport, research and development into emission free industrial processes, construction techniques and materials, waste and recycling, agriculture and food production systems, sustainable technology, population, lifestyle and culture.
7) National Climate Emergency Response Planning
Independents CAN’s climate policy platform is underpinned by scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and climate research organisations that identify climate change to be an existential threat to human society and the living biosphere on which we depend. The science identifies that to secure our future requires major and rapid reductions in emissions of greenhouse gasses and other mitigative efforts including drawdown of existing atmospheric carbon stocks. Failure to do this, risks pushing the climate system past tipping points and runaway climate change toward a catastrophic hothouse earth.
Considering the value of what is threatened by climate change (human society and the biosphere), the scale of action required to respond to the threat and the rate at which the response must be delivered and at which climate disasters are already emerging, the situation cannot be considered anything less than an emergency. To deal with an emergency requires emergency planning. Independents CAN’s policies provide for a planned national response to the climate emergency that sets Australia on a viable path through the climate crisis as part of broader global efforts.
Independent CAN’s policies address the capacity of the Commonwealth Government’s planning and management response to the climate emergency including coordination and support for States and Territories in equivalent planning endeavours. Policies address the formation of dedicated agencies and organisations, budgetary commitments and funding arrangements and the potential role of emergency declarations and powers.
8) Political System Reform
In recent years investigative journalism has revealed corruption scandals and the power that vested interests have on the Australian Government that go to the heart of policy failure on climate change. Real political progress on climate policy will remain hard to achieve as long as our political leaders remain subject to the corrupting influence of the fossil fuel industry and participate in revolving door career changes between industry and the halls of power.
Independents CAN policies in this area include a commitment to a Federal Independent Committee Against Corruption (ICAC), political donation and media ownership reform and limits on the number of terms that politicians can serve and their subsequent employment options.